The first day of Advent

My brother-in-law, Rob, is a man of many talents. Not only is he a band teacher and a conductor, but he is also an Anglican priest. This morning, he had the distinct pleasure of having his granddaughter, Isabella, act as his acolyte.

When I arrived at the condo they use as a church, his grandchildren were still in their jammies. This is Allister. He’s three years old.
This is 6-year-old Isabella, and Rob put the acolyte robe on right over her pj’s. The robe fit her perfectly!
Rob helped her light the candles.
Rob had one of the congregants take a picture of him with both grandchildren dressed as acolytes after the service was over. Allister’s robe was all around him on the floor.

My nephew, Nate, had gone with me to direct me there, and we had to leave before this picture was taken because we then went to my sister, Lauryn’s, church. After her service, Rob and Lauryn and Nate had to meet at the Ragland Theater to set up for a concert they were to perform this afternoon.

I got this picture before the concert to show how many people were there. It was actually a good-sized crowd for a Sunday afternoon concert. When the performance was about to start, the audience was asked to please not take pictures, so I didn’t get any other pictures.

Both Lauryn and Nate play percussion. Lauryn generally plays drums and Nate plays marimba and all sorts of other instruments. This isn’t a very clear picture of the stage, but Nate’s instruments are all on the left side of the stage. We were up high enough to see Lauryn playing as well. Her various drums and other percussion pieces are generally on the right and center behind all the other musicians and she’s not tall enough to be seen unless one is up this high! Of course, Rob being the conductor, he was front and center.

The music was all Christmas music. I sat in awe as I watched both Lauryn and Nate sometimes play two instruments at the same time. They are so talented!

Rob’s daughter-in-law, Cintia, and grandchildren were sitting in a special box seat to the right of the stage. The second to the last piece was the world premiere of a piece that Rob commissioned an American composer, Robert Sheldon, to write for his son, Ian, who collapsed and died shortly after talking with Rob on the phone three years and four days ago. When it came time to play From Glen to Glen, the narrator read the story behind the piece. I quote it here:

“Inspired by the music of Scotland, this piece is dedicated to the memory of Ian Izzett, son of our conductor, Rob Izzett, who passed away suddenly at the age of 34, on December 2, 2018, leaving behind a wife, two young children, parents, siblings, cousins, coworkers, and many friends. The music attempts to capture the spirit of this young man and his playful approach to life. Due to his Scottish heritage, Ian loved all things Scottish, playing tuba and guitar, and all things Christmas. Ian was known to start decorating for Christmas, complete with the playing of Christmas Carols, about one minute after midnight following Thanksgiving Day.”

When the narrator mentioned Ian’s wife and two children, a spotlight lit them in their box seat and a bouquet of flowers was presented to Cintia. Rob was a little bit choked up, but he was so pleased to wave to his grandchildren at that point. They call him PopPop.

Cintia with her children, Isabella and Allister

The piece was beautiful! I have to mention here that band leaders and teachers from all around Oregon and Washington contributed to the fund for commissioning Robert Sheldon to compose this piece, and to my mother’s surprise, one of them is a cousin of hers. Rob had no idea there was a relationship. It was a whole other familial connection that went into honoring Ian’s life in this way.

After the concert, the whole family went out for dinner, and then we returned to Rob and Lauryn’s home to visit.

Walking home from dinner in Klamath Falls. Lauryn is walking hand-in-hand with Isabella.
Cintia, Nate, and Lauryn carrying on a lively conversation about the concert
The children demonstrated a toy Santa who plays a trumpet at the push of a button. I took this opportunity to take a shot of the beautiful princess dress Rob and Lauryn got for Isabella to wear to the concert today.

Then the children went to another room to play and watch TV while the grownups talked. We had a rollicking conversation. This was the first time I had ever met Rob’s daughter-in-law and his grandchildren and I was glad for the opportunity to get to know them. Tomorrow, Rob, Lauryn, and Nate have to go back to the various schools they teach at and the rest of us will all be returning home. It has been a great day spent with family and extended family.

This is the first Sunday of Advent, a celebration of hope. For me, this is the day I like to read about all the prophecies of the promised Messiah that were written hundreds of years before Christ was born. The Jews waited and hoped all those years for the Messiah, and in God’s good timing, Mary was approached by an angel and told that she had been chosen, favored by God, to bear the One that the Jews had been hoping for all those centuries. Sometimes, things hoped for take what seems to us to be an extraordinarily long time to happen, but as Paul said in Romans 8: 24, “…hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he can already see?” If you have been waiting a long time to see an answer to prayer, don’t give up hope. God’s timing is perfect!

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